Djungarian hamster — This is a small, very cute and mobile animal from the rodent family. They are very common as pets. Their popularity is due to their simplicity and low maintenance requirements. However, before you get such a small animal at home, you need to ask how to properly create comfortable living conditions for it. In many literary sources, the dzhungarik is found under the name Sungur hamster.
View origin and description
Djungarian hamsters belong to chordates. They are divided into the class of mammals, the order of rodents, the family of hamsters, the genus of legged hamsters, and the species Djungarian hamster. The first scientific description of hamsters was compiled in 1839 by Waterhouse. At that time, these representatives of the hamster family were present in single copies only on the territory of modern Syria.
Almost a hundred years will pass before the moment when the first living individual of a hamster falls into the hands of scientists and researchers. The first who was able to catch a rodent was the scientist and researcher Aharoni from Jerusalem. He managed to find a female with 12 cubs in a deep hole.
Video: Djungarian hamster
After transporting the animals, only four could survive. Very soon offspring appeared from these animals, which also began to multiply quite quickly and give offspring. It was these individuals, discovered by the professor in a deep hole, that became the ancestors of all animals kept at home.
In 1938, the animals were brought from England to the United States. Here they were used as animals for laboratory research. Then they returned to Europe as laboratory animals. From that moment began a rapid and very successful domestication of animals. Within about a decade, hamsters have completely become the pets of people around the world.
Appearance and Features
Djungarian hamsters are very cute small animals that have a pointed muzzle and small, round ears. Sexual dimorphism is practically not expressed. One adult, regardless of gender, has a body length of 9-10 centimeters. The body weight of one adult is about 35-65 grams. The muzzle of the animal is slightly elongated, pointed in the nose. The eyes of hamsters are round, black, shiny. The nose area is framed by rather long mustaches.
The wool of hamsters is quite thick and can be dyed in a variety of colors. The body of rodents is painted in two colors. The upper part of the body in the back area has a darker color. Paws and the abdomen are painted in a light, milky or beige color. A characteristic feature is the presence of a dark stripe that runs along the line of the animal's spine.
Possible color options for rodents:
- gray with a lilac tint;
Under natural conditions, hamsters molt twice a year. In winter, their coat is white with a silvery tint, and in summer it turns gray for camouflage. Hamsters have small, four-toed paws. They function as hands. The fingers have long, sharp claws that help animals dig holes. The fingers of the animals are covered with thick wool. Djungarian hamsters have a thin, short tail.
Where does the Djungarian hamster live?
Natural the habitat of the jungariks is quite wide. Djungarian hamsters got their name in honor of the province in the northwestern region of the People's Republic of China – Dzungaria.
Geographical regions of the habitat of animals:
- desert regions of Russia;
- Altai Territory;
Animals live in minks. Minks are dug and equipped independently. Each mink has 3 to 6 entrances and exits. According to the structure of the hamster's hole, they resemble real chambers, the depth of which is about one meter. The rodent has a storage room where it prepares food supplies for the winter, a bedroom, a latrine.
To keep an animal in artificial conditions, you will need a cage, which must be equipped with everything you need for a comfortable hamster. A wheel with a diameter of at least 16 centimeters must be placed in the cage. A wheel with a small diameter leads to spinal deformity. Another essential element is the house. It is better if it is without large window openings in order to avoid an animal getting stuck in it with cheeks stuffed with food.
It is necessary to put branches of fruit trees and shrubs in the cage, on which the hamster will sharpen his teeth. In some corner you need to define a toilet for him. Periodically, it is recommended to put a container in the cage into which you can pour sand for chinchillas. In this container, the dzhungars will be happy to bathe in the sand. It is forbidden to put cotton wool, hay, various scraps of fabric in the dwelling of animals. Long fibers can compress the limb. In this case, it dies off.
What does the Djungarian hamster eat?
Dzungaria are undemanding to nutrition, so their maintenance and feeding will not become too costly. This type of pet can be safely called omnivores. The best option for these little animals is ready-made balanced types of food specifically for hamsters. The basis of these feeds is granules and cereals, cereals. The mix for hamsters also includes pieces of corn, as well as at least 10-15% proteins.
Be sure to give hamsters fresh, juicy vegetables and fruits that animals love very much. However, it is necessary to remove unused residues and cells in a timely manner in order to avoid decay and disease of animals, since animals often not only eat the products allocated to them, but also hide them in large quantities behind their cheeks. This is how they stock up on provisions.
The owner must take care of the constant access of water. To do this, you can install drinkers. Another prerequisite is the introduction into the diet of vitamins and minerals necessary for the normal functioning of hamsters. Also, the animals must be fed with fresh herbs and juicy berries. Sometimes it is recommended to give them nuts and sunflower seeds. Hamster breeders should take care of the source of protein in the hamster's diet.
The following ingredients are recommended as protein food:
- boiled chicken liver in small quantities;
- boiled chicken breast;
- low-fat varieties of cottage cheese.
Fresh food should be in the hamster daily. Changing the water in the drinking bowl is also required daily. It is strictly forbidden to include foods that contain a large amount of sugar in the diet.
Peculiarities of character and lifestyle
Dzungark hamsters tend to lead a solitary, solitary lifestyle. Under natural conditions, they live apart, in burrows that they dig and settle on their own. Rodents tend to be nocturnal. During the day, they sleep almost all the time, hiding in their shelter. Shelter leaves with the onset of darkness. This lifestyle allows you to hide from a large number of enemies in natural habitats.
At night, hamsters are very mobile and active. In search of food in natural conditions, they can travel quite long distances. A distinctive feature of these representatives of rodents is their thriftiness. Animals tend to collect food with their paws, as with their hands, and push it by the cheek. This is how they bring it home and store it in their pantries.
An interesting fact: The cheek space in which animals store their supplies can be three times the size of their heads. It is noteworthy that before the onset of cold weather, hamsters can make such an amount of reserves that exceeds their own body weight by almost a hundred times!
It is at night that the animals are engaged in searching and gathering food, arranging their minks. They also tend to frolic, just run and play. That is why, when arranging a cage for keeping at home, it is very important to install a wheel, swings, etc.
Usually, each individual has its own region of habitat, and the territories of different individuals do not overlap. In a situation where this does happen, individuals reclaim their territory from each other. Often such wars lead to the death of the weaker animal.
Social Structure and Reproduction
Djungarian hamsters are highly fertile. So conceived by nature due to the fact that the animals did not hatch in their natural habitat. Hamsters reach sexual maturity at four weeks of age. If the animals are kept at home, they should be separated from each other as soon as they are one month old. An early pregnancy is very dangerous for the life and health of females.
The most optimal age for the onset of the first pregnancy is 3.5-4 months. After mating at home, individuals of different sexes are recommended to be separated so that they cannot harm each other. Pregnancy lasts an average of 23-24 days. One female can give birth to 1 to 10 cubs. Babies are born completely helpless and are in great need of maternal help and care. Sometimes it happens that the female refuses her offspring, or even can eat her cubs.
Interesting fact: A day after the birth of her offspring, the female is ready to mate again.
Hamsters quickly get stronger and grow up. To get healthy offspring, it is recommended to choose healthy individuals with a known pedigree for mating. Only in this case is there a guarantee that the animal will not have any pathological diseases.
Natural enemies of Djungarian hamsters
In their natural habitat, hamsters have a huge number of enemies who constantly hunt them. Nocturnal lifestyle and deep burrows save rodents from some of them.
Natural enemies of hamsters:
- predatory species of birds – ermines, owls, hawks, falcons;
- wild dogs;
- wild cats;
Nature endowed these representatives of the rodent family with excellent hearing, which allows you to pick up the slightest rustle at a considerable distance. This ability allows in many situations to determine the approach of the enemy. If the hamster hears dangerous sounds, he immediately flees. They hide most often in deep holes, or other reliable shelters. If the sounds that inspire fear are very close and there is no way to escape, the animal simply freezes, wanting to go unnoticed. If this maneuver does not bring the desired result, the hamster rushes to the attack.
In some cases, even large predators, this behavior confuses, giving a small animal a chance to save. There are a number of diseases to which hamsters are very sensitive. Diabetes and obesity are among the most common diseases that kill animals.
Population and species status
To date, the population of Djungarian hamsters is very common in various parts of the world. They are the pets of many people. They are successfully bred and kept at home. Hamsters quickly become tame with good care and optimal conditions. Such an amazing and very funny animal will become a true friend and everyone's favorite in families with small children. Despite the large number of enemies in natural conditions, their population remains quite numerous due to their very high fecundity and nocturnal lifestyle. In some cases, an adult, sexually mature female brings offspring several times a month.
Life expectancy is significantly reduced as a result of closely related ties. In this regard, for breeding and keeping hamsters at home, it is necessary to choose individuals that are born from proven, reliable parents. To get healthy offspring at home, it is necessary to provide good care and balanced nutrition to females during pregnancy. As a preventive measure for the development of various diseases and pathological conditions, it is necessary to monitor the quality of products, provide constant access to clean water and take care of maintaining cleanliness in the cage. You should also periodically allow hamsters to bathe in the sand, as this is how they get rid of parasites and clean their fur coat.
The Djungarian hamster is one of the most popular and sought-after pets. Their average life expectancy is two to three years. Hamsters are rather fragile, sometimes clumsy animals. In this regard, at the moment when the owner releases them from the cage, he must constantly look after them. The slightest injury, which at first glance may seem insignificant, can lead to death. Many hamster breeders purchase running balls for them. Do not get carried away with them, as this is a very traumatic element. Being inside the ball, the animal very often stumbles upon various obstacles, thus receiving serious injuries. People who are going to get these amazing and very funny little animals are advised to first familiarize themselves with the rules and conditions for keeping hamsters at home.